Tuolumne Meadows is right on Highway 120. You can either head west to Yosemite Valley or east to Highway 395, and although there were plenty of cars around, it seemed like they were all headed to Yosemite Valley, or unwilling to give me a ride.
For reference: Tuolumne Meadows and Truckee are in orange boxes (photo courtesy of Magellan)
After about 45 minutes, a car stopped in front of me, and the passenger rolled down their window. It was the couple I met on the trail! I was so glad I met them because I was having no luck at all with my hitch. Their names were Janice and Derek, and they drove me out to Lee Vining. Thank you!
When I got to Lee Vining, I realized quickly everything had closed for the season except the campground. It was still mid-afternoon, so I decided to keep trying to hitch further north. I was going to Truckee now, about 170 miles north to meet up with Yahtzee and take on the other missed section.
It actually took quite a while. My plan was to get a ride to Reno, NV because I figured many people would be headed in that direction, and there's a Greyhound that takes you directly to Truckee from there. I assumed it would be tough to get a direct hitch to Truckee.
A car stopped for me and a woman got out of the car pretty soon after I started trying to hitch. I got excited that I had found a ride so quickly. Well, turns out she didn't want to be so helpful. She had gotten out of her car just to tell me that I should set up in town, because it was very unlikely I was going to get a hitch out here. I mean, probably not if there's someone talking to me! I was a little frustrated, but decided to keep trying to get a ride.
About 10 minutes later, another car stopped for me, and the driver rolled down the passenger side window to ask where I was headed. I told him as far north as he was willing to take me, especially if he was headed to Reno or nearby.
He responded, "Well, I'm headed to Truckee--" and I don't even think I let him finish because I was so surprised. I asked if he was willing to give me a ride out to Truckee because that's exactly where I was headed, and I ended up spending a 3 and a half hour hitch directly to Truckee. It was a beautiful drive, and I was really glad I got to take it.
Donner Pass Ski Resort
I met up with Yahtzee at Truckee the next day, and we ended up taking an unplanned zero. There was no real good reason for it, we were just being lazy. But we were also excited to make up this part of the trail. Next stop, Donner Pass!